The underused strength of SecondLife
In case you haven’t heard, SecondLife is a massively multiplayer online environment that consists of a single large world created entirely by it’s players. Any player can create objects, upload sound, and upload images. The players can also program these objects to do whatever they may wish. Players can own bits of land, or even entire regions in this “game.” They can then turn and do whatever they wish with this land, this includes providing for-profit services.
Secondlife also comes with audio/video streaming, voice chat, and text chat room features. Most of the game is considered a public enviroment, similar as to the web. An account with secondlife is free, and the download for the viewer is small. A common website is able to hyper-link to any location within secondlife. It’s these features that make secondlife a prime tool for public-conferences, however I believe this feature is highly underused.
There are serious benefits to hosting a global conference in secondlife as opposed to a standard convention center in a big city. No matter where your attendees are physically in the world, you can easily attend a live event within secondlife. Secondlife offers methods of gathering attendance fees for all participants in your conference. It’s easy to be heard on secondlife, as each player has control over their own audio levels every word said will be heard by everyone. It’s easy to be seen on secondlife, as the players can move their cameras independently from their own characters; this allows people to focus on your slides zooming and getting close. Similar to front row seating for the entire conference, everything is heard everything is seen. Easier to attend for everyone, players who attend the Secondlife conference can be at home laying around in their underwear. Easier access to information, you can shoot everyone a web address or a large text file or images of your presentation subject, no need to print it out on a limited 3 fold or booklets.
However I believe the greatest strength is the ability for attendees to participate. You can create an application that allows attendees to vote on topics and share their ideas in real time. You can allow attendees to stand up, talk, and be heard by everyone. You also have the ability to control the crowd, so the only ones heard are those who are talking.
These are my thoughts about secondlife. Post in comments if you have anything to add, or if you also know of an underutilized/unused possibility of secondlife.